Development of Graphene Oxide Based Membranes for Liquid Separations

  • Dinesh Mahalingam

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Several attempts have been made to combine the unique characteristics of graphene oxide (GO) and commercial polymers for successfully designing and fabricating next-generation membranes in filtration and separation technologies. The first part of the work develops a high flux polyethersulfone ultrafiltration membranes, by embedding GO sheets, starting from the polymer/GO solutions in ionic liquid and N, N dimethylformamide as co-solvents and promoting the pore formation via non-solvent induced phase separation. In the second part of the work, a protic ionic liquid was introduced as a solvent to disperse GO sheets and fabricate GO liquid crystal membranes for nanofiltration. The third part addresses the stability enhancement. GO membranes frequently disintegrate in aqueous environments due to swelling. Ethylenediamine was then used as a crosslinker, and the membranes were tested for organic solvent nanofiltration. Additionally, overcoming the permeation-rejection trade-off is challenging. Hence, the fourth work involved the intercalation of silica nanoparticles to form dual-sized nanochannels. In the final work, GO membranes were fabricated on the surface of hollow fibers to overcome scalability issues, by using a feasible spray coating method for efficient nanofiltration. Hollow fibers were crosslinked with hexamethylene diamine and GO was spray-coated on the crosslinked polymeric fibers for organic solvent nanofiltration. Overall, this study demonstrates the potential of GO in developing high-performance membranes for liquid separations relevant for industrial applications, such as wastewater treatment, food, chemical, petrochemical, and pharmaceutical processing.
Date of AwardNov 2019
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Biological, Environmental Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorSuzana Nunes (Supervisor)


  • Graphene Oxide
  • Membranes
  • Liquid Separations
  • Ultrafiltration
  • Nanofiltration
  • Organic Solvent Nanofiltration

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